the wife or widow of a duke.
a woman who holds in her own right the sovereignty or titles of a duchy.

1300–50; Middle English duchesse < Anglo-French, Old French, feminine derivative of duc duke; see -ess

duchesslike, adjective

See -ess.
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World English Dictionary
duchess (ˈdʌtʃɪs)
1.  the wife or widow of a duke
2.  a woman who holds the rank of duke in her own right
3.  informal (Austral) to overwhelm with flattering attention
[C14: from Old French duchesse, feminine of ducduke]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. duchesse, from L.L. or M.L. ducissa, fem. of dux (see duke).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Spread mixture on plank, and make nests and border of duchess potatoes, using rose tube.
As well as being cultural, the newlywed duke and duchess seem to inspire cultural innovation.
Here's the story of a duchess who has earned her comeback crown.
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